V&A Online Journal
Issue No. 6 Summer 2014
Cataloguing Change: Women, Art and Technology
Patric Prince Curator of Digital Art and Digital Programmes Manager, V&A
Focussing on key objects in the V&A’s digital art collection, this article considers the relationship between women, art and technology. It contextualises early digital practices and documents the significant contribution made by female artists, curators and educators inspired by the creative potential of new technologies.
The recent acquisition of Women and Technology (fig. 1), a silkscreen poster by Barbara Nessim, highlights the key theme addressed in this article – the important contribution made by women who have used the computer in the visual arts. Computer art is a broad label used, in the context of the V&A, as a historical term to describe work made using the computer as a tool from around the 1960s until the early 1980s. (1) Digital art, another general term used in the following decades, also defines a range of artistic works and practices that use digital technology as an essential part of the creative process. Focussing on the V&A’s national collection of computer art, the discussion reflects on the work of contemporary practitioners and an earlier generation of artists. It explores the divergent interests and approaches that have driven aesthetic experimentation and offers an insight into the experiences of those working in what became a predominantly male domain. By examining individual and collaborative practices, we will see where artists have both programmed their own code and adapted commercial software to creatively experiment with the possibilities of the medium. More importantly, the article addresses the development of computer art to reveal how significantly it has been shaped by the influential role of women as artists, curators and educators.
The V&A began to collect computer-generated prints in the late 1960s, around the same time as the seminal exhibition Cybernetic Serendipity held at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. In 1969 the Museum acquired a Cybernetic Serendipity collector’s set published by Motif Editions, a London-based publisher of fine art prints. (2) In the years that followed, very few works acquired by the Museum illustrated the early years of computer-generated art and design. Today the strength of the internationally significant collection is the result of two major acquisitions – the Patric Prince collection and the archives of the Computer Arts Society. Together, these major acquisitions form the basis of the V&A’s national collection of computer-generated art – the subject of Honor Beddard’s article in Issue No. 2 (Autumn 2009) of the V&A Online Journal.(3)
The first major collection acquired by the V&A was assembled by Patric Prince, an American archivist and historian of computer art. She was responsible for organising some of the key computer art exhibitions, including the SIGGRAPH (Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Technologies) retrospective in 1986, as well as lecturing and writing on the subject extensively. (4) In addition to the artworks, the Patric Prince collection contains a large quantity of books, archival material and ephemera, including monographs, manuals, exhibition catalogues, slides and interviews with practicing artists. The Museum also holds the archives of the Computer Arts Society (CAS), which includes over 200 artworks that are located within the Museum’s Word & Image Department. The V&A continues to actively acquire works and its collection of computer and digital art currently stands at over 800 artworks. These range from early experiments with analogue computers and mechanical devices, to examples of contemporary software-based practices that produce digital prints and computer-generated drawings. The collection consists predominately of two-dimensional works on paper, such as plotter drawings, screenprints, inkjet prints, laser prints, photographs and artists' books. It also includes a small but growing number of born digital artworks – objects that are produced, distributed and consumed solely in digital form.
The impact of the computer on the creative process and creative industries marks a culturally significant development, and the V&A’s holdings chart and illustrate some of these changes. The collection contains artworks made by both men and women, with the latter embracing technology as their mode of expression since the arrival of the computer and its use within the arts. Art historian Grant D. Taylor even suggests that it was the unnamed women working at ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer) in 1963 who made the first computer art through their collaborative efforts on scientific visualisations at the Ballistic Research Laboratories, Aberdeen, Maryland. (5) These women programmers were referred to as human ‘computers’. The technological achievements of such women are increasingly recognised through initiatives, such as The Ada Project. (6) This online resource, named after Ada Lovelace (1815-52), credited with being the first computer programmer, acknowledges the role of past and present women working at the forefront of change and computing in technology. (7) While acknowledging the much broader contributions made by women to the history of computer technology, this article specifically focuses on the role played by trained artists who have expressly used the computer in the visual arts. Much of this research is particularly indebted to the Women, Art and Technology Project begun in 1993 by the journal Leonardo, and Judy Malloy’s anthology of the same title. (8)
The earliest works in the V&A’s computer art collection created by female artists were made in 1969. Interruptions (fig. 2) by Vera Molnar is a plotter drawing. The image was made by a pen attached to a computer-controlled drawing machine – in this instance an IBM 370 with an IBM 2250 cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor and plotter. Molnar, who studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest (1942-7), started using the computer in 1968. However, her systematic method for creating art began in 1959 when she developed the concept of the Machine Imaginaire. (9) Through this she identified a series of (hypothetical) steps by which an image would be created. Describing this technique, Molnar stated:
I imagined I had a computer. I designed a programme and then, step by step, I realised simple, limited series which were completed within, meaning they did not exclude a single possible combination of form. As soon as possible I replaced the imaginary computer, the make believe machine by a real one. (10)
Molnar went on to use a limited number of geometrical elements such as circles, lines and squares in her art, exploring fundamental concepts relating to order and structure. As one of the first fine artists to use the computer as an artistic tool, she placed a high value on the computer’s speed and greater calculation capabilities to generate visual possibilities. (11)
Grace Hertlein, like Molnar, was born in 1924 and also began to use computers to make art in 1968. Hertlein studied art, printing and sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago (1961-5) and went on to attain a BFA (1968) and MFA (1970) in sculpture at California State University, Chico. (12) She first exhibited her computer art in 1969, when it was selected for a show at the Fall Joint Computer Conference, Las Vegas. (13) Hertlein was conscious of her status as one of only a few women working with computer art, writing in her 1970 resume:
Since 1970 my work has been included on an invitational basis in all the major computer art exhibitions. As an example, 20 artists were invited to show their work in Zagreb, Yugoslavia in 1973. I was one of those 20 artists, the only woman in the world to participate in this important exhibition. (14)
Hertlein played an important role in championing The Computer Art Contest. (15) This was one of the earliest, if not the first, award dedicated to computer art. (16) The magazine Computers and Automation launched the contest in its February 1963 issue, although Hertlein only became involved with the contest when she became arts editor for the publication in 1974. Hertlein worked alongside Edmund C. Berkeley, chief editor and co-publisher of the magazine, to develop the concept of the contest. The winner of the competition was subsequently featured on the cover of each year’s August issue. (17)
In common with other artistic practitioners, Katherine Nash (fig. 3) began experimenting with computer-generated art in the late 1960s. (18) She made her early computer art using ART1, a program developed at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of New Mexico. (19) To create ART 1, Nash, who worked at the University of Minnesota, collaborated with Richard Williams, an engineer at the University of New Mexico. These sites of artistic production reflected the prohibitive cost of the new technology, with only research laboratories and universities able to afford the required equipment. (20) In 1970 Nash and Williams published Computer Program for Artists: ART 1, an article which set out the different ways an artist could approach art using the computer. (21) The following year, in 1971, Nash created the three works held in the V&A’s collection.
Artists also gained access to computers by negotiating with the large corporations that had invested in the technology. One such individual was Sylvia Roubaud, who created artworks at Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB), a German aerospace company based in Ottobrun, near Munich, Germany. (22) The V&A holds a copy of Computergrafik-Galerie: Sylvia Roubaud by H. W. Franke, which illustrates her work. (23) Roubaud was a member of the MBB Computer Graphics founded in 1971 by her husband, Winfried Fischer. Significantly, she was the only academy-trained artist within the group, while the other members had backgrounds in engineering and mathematics. (24)
One of the most progressive research laboratories and a leading authority in the field of new technology was Bell Laboratories (also known as Bell Labs). (25) Based in New Jersey, it was influential in initiating and supporting the early American computer-art scene and, in 1966, contributed to a series of performances entitled 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering. (26) This was the first event in a series of projects that would become known as EAT or Experiments in Art and Technology. Artist Lillian Schwartz was a member of EAT. (27) She first began to experiment with picture-processing techniques at Bell Labs in 1968, after being introduced to the research laboratory by Leon Harmon, a computer scientist who was working there at the time. (28) He had previously met Schwartz when their work was exhibited together in The Machine: As Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age, held at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 1968. (29) Schwartz described her interest in technology and desire to work with computers, stating: ‘It seemed to be an obvious source of new visual imagery and my art has been nurtured by harnessing the technology that invades our everyday life.’ (30) Since the 1960s Schwartz has used the computer as an analytical and creative tool, with access to computers enabling her to develop her artistic practice. Reflecting on this, she has said, ‘Computers and all the various technologies that exist today actually spark me into new ways of thinking. Certainly the computer has pushed me into thinking in ways that I otherwise would not have allowed myself to think.’ (31)
Schwartz was among the first American artists to use computer-coding language to create motion-graphic-based film and video art. In 1970 she created Pixillation (fig. 4), a four-minute film commissioned by AT&T Bell Laboratories. (32) During the development of the work Schwartz used EXPLOR (EXplicit Patterns, Local Operations and Randomness), a computer animation language coded by Ken Knowlton. (33) In 1971 the film received the Cine Golden Eagle award, an accolade presented by the CINE (Council on International Nontheatrical Events) to signify excellence in the film, TV and digital media industry, the same year MoMA acquired the work. (34) In 1984 MoMA also commissioned Schwartz to create a poster and a public service announcement (PSA) to celebrate the opening of its newly renovated gallery space. (35) The resulting work, Big MoMA, is a computer-generated collage that incorporates examples of the Museum of Modern Art’s collection in the shape of a female form. Schwartz worked with physicist Richard Voss to scan in images of the collection using the prototype program he developed at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Laboratory. The 30-second advert took two years to create and was the first computer-generated TV commercial to win an Emmy. (36) Of her work with computer scientists Schwartz has remarked, ‘These collaborations have produced systems, languages and subroutines that are responsive to my artistic needs.’ (37)
In a 1971 interview Colette Bangert described the complexities of technological art, commenting that it often necessitated team effort to produce good results. (38) The collaborative practice of Colette and Charles Jeff Bangert is an integral aspect of their work. As Colette has written, ‘Think of my work as the record of many conversations between myself, the mid-western landscape, and Jeff Bangert, my computer art collaborator.’ (39) Colette Bangert trained as an artist and was the only woman in the 1957 graduating class at the John Heron Art Institute in Indianapolis. She went on to complete a Masters degree in Fine Arts from Boston University. In 1967 she started making computer drawings with Jeff, who was a supervisor of applications programming at the University of Kansas Computation Centre. (40) Colette described their process of working together stating, ‘We talk about form and colour like other artists, but our ‘words’ are brush strokes and software, colour and math…’ (41)
The mid-western landscape, with its transforming colours and form, is a central part of the Bangerts’ work, where they use the computer to reflect the changing seasons (fig. 5). Their algorithmic drawings were first created on a General Electronic 635 computer, produced by one of Jeff Bangert's programs called MELL and were written in the FORTRAN programming language. On her use of the computer as a drawing medium, Colette has commented, ‘It [the computer] allows me to explore more fully what a line can do.’ (42) In a later interview she contemplated the relationship between drawing by hand and on the computer: ‘The resulting drawings produced by the plotter help me to understand and clarify my visual conceptions of what I have done, what I might have done and what it would be possible to do, and, thus, help me in making subsequent hand drawings’. (43)
Although less well documented, the V&A’s archive also holds papers on the collaborative practices of Monique Nahas and Hervé Huitric, who were part of GAIV (Groupe Art et Informatique de Vincennes), and Joan Kirsch, a printmaker and art historian who, together with her computer scientist husband Russell Kirsch, wrote on the use of the computer in the fine arts. (44)
Innovation and New Techniques
Through their individual and collaborative practices artists have embraced technology as their mode of expression, developing new and innovative processes and techniques. Virtual Implants (fig. 6) is an example of a PHSCologram, a registered trademark for barrier-strip and lenticular autostereograms made by art collective (art)n. The group was formed by Ellen Sandor and her peers from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1983. In the same year, Sandor coined the term PHSCologram, which is an acronym for photography, holography, sculpture and computer graphics. By 1990 PHSCologram had become a digital photographic process constructed using (art)n's proprietary art software. (45)
Sonya Rapoport makes participatory computer-assisted interactive artworks. Rapoport, born in 1923, began her career as an abstract expressionist painter, using drawing, painting, text and cross-cultural imagery. Since the 1970s she has utilised digital tools. (46) Her work, such as Shoe Field (fig. 7) engages with and incorporates audience responses: in this instance as an interactive installation that created computer plots of people's responses to their shoes. Conceived in 1977, the work was originally about American Indian designs and sandals. (47) Rapoport superimposed drawings on the computer that related to anthropological research encoded in computer printouts; she then repeated the process with her own collection of shoes, before developing the work into an interactive happening. (48) In 1978, Rapoport worked with anthropologist Dorothy Washburn and completed A Shoe-In, a participation performance held at Berkeley Computer Systems. In 1986 Shoe Field was exhibited at Media Gallery in San Francisco. (49)
Papers in the archive show how artists used available technologies in different, innovative ways: from the experimental computer animation and artwork of Vibeke Sorensen and Rebecca Allan in the 1970s, to Jane Veeder's artwork inspired by video games in the mid-1980s. (50) The archive also documents artists who have both written their own software to create artworks, such as Alyce Kaprow, who collaborated with Walter Bender at the MIT Architecture Machine Group Lab, and artist Eudice Feder, who collaborated with Russell J. Abbott, a professor of computer science at California State University. (51) Other artists in the collection have adapted existing commercial packages. IBIS (fig. 8) is an example of a work by Karen Guzak, who studied painting and printmaking at the Cornish Institute, Seattle, in 1976. (52) It was named after the early colour graphics package and program tool, the IBIS System, which was developed in the early 1980s by Carl Youngmann, Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Washington, and Ellie Mathews, a graphic designer. (53) The IBIS computer program was originally used to rapidly produce variations of an image for commercial applications, such as mapping oil deposits. (54) In 1987, Youngmann lent the software and a colour printer to Guzak. (55) Her print IBIS was made with an FCG computer with 896 kb of memory, a cathode ray tube and a Tektoniks 4695 colour ink jet printer, and was drawn on a digitising tablet with an electronic stylus. Guzak’s Seattle studio provided a collaborative hub; she worked with eight fellow artists who shared technical solutions and encouraged each other to explore the potential of the computer as an art-making tool. (56)
Gender, Technology and Art
Acknowledgement of women's role in computer art has, until recently, remained a comparatively hidden history. (57) A number of important research publications and projects, such as Hybrid Momentum: Women/ Art/ Technology, have documented and mapped the impact of women and early digital art. (58) However, few, as Taylor points out, have dealt with the complex relationship between gender and technology. (59)
Artist Joan Truckenbrod highlights the gendered politics of computer culture in the 20th century. Like many, she points to its history rooted in the military and engineering. (60) ‘Computing is one of these social constructs that has been formulated within a socio-political milieu.’ (61) She describes this culture as being encoded and compounded by the syntax, command and control structures that reflect computing operating systems and their associated history with business and military applications, suggesting how this context has made many female artists working with computers feel alienated. (62) Lillian Schwartz’s description of her collaborations with computer scientists is also revealing, with her provocative use of the word ‘prostitute’ intimating the uneasy gendered dynamics of women as producers of computer art:
‘I had a reputation in the arts before I got involved in these areas but when I started using computers, my fellow artists began to look on me as a prostitute. I haven’t been able to find an artistic circle where I can discuss the aesthetics of my work. I've had to replace my artist friends with computer scientist friends.’(63)
It is surprising, then, that the early years of electronic computing saw the role of programming remarkably receptive to female labour and not as stratified along gender lines as other technical professions. (64) This unexpected state of affairs illustrated by ‘The Computer Girls’, an article in Cosmopolitan Magazine from April 1976. The feature encouraged the magazine’s fashionable female readership to consider careers in programming, describing the field as offering promising job opportunities for women. The author of the feature, Lois Mandel, quoted the distinguished computer scientist, Dr Grace Hopper, as saying programming was, ‘Just like planning a dinner. You have to plan ahead and schedule everything so that it’s ready when you need it. Programming requires patience and the ability to handle detail. Women are “naturals” at computer programming.’ (65) For contemporary readers the tone of the article may seem flippant and condescending. And yet, the feature does provide an indication of the growing number of women working in computer programming at the time. (66) In this wider context, the article provides a valuable and informative insight into the gender dynamics of computer work in the formative decades of electronic computing.
The decades following the 1960s saw the programming profession becoming increasingly masculinised. The creation of professional associations (such as the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Data Processing Management Association (DPMA)), the emphasis on educational requirements for programming careers and advertising campaigns that increasingly targeted men, led to the computer being deemed a more masculine pursuit. (67) This in turn served to reinforce contemporary gendered preconceptions and stereotypes. Truckenbrod has argued that it was on account of the masculine framework and context that some women artists, such as herself, felt outside of this culture.
‘FORTRAN, for me was like writing a series of mathematical equations. This method for developing algorithms and writing programs reflects organisational patterns of top-down, hierarchical modes of thinking used primarily by men. A woman’s approach to programming is found in the more conversational languages such as COBOL, developed by Grace Hopper in 1960. As women are involved with knowledge in a more relational manner, visually orientated programming processes using icons or figures that are moved around on the display screen, and connected to produce procedures, are more accessible to women.’(68)
Truckenbrod’s assertion supports the view that Western technology itself embodies patriarchal values. (69) However, a growing number of feminists, including Flis Henwood and Judy Wajcman, have used the emerging cultural analyses of technology as a framework to examine the relationship between gender and technology. (70) These cultural analyses frame technologies as ‘cultural products’, or ‘processes’. From this perspective, gender and technological meanings are not fixed or given; they are made.
Curatorial and Educational Legacies
Since the 1960s women, as educators and curators, have been formative and formidable key agents responsible for expanding, challenging and theorising computer and digital art practices. Cybernetic Serendipity, curated by Jasia Reichardt, was the first large international exhibition of electronic, cybernetic and computer art. This hugely influential exhibition opened at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London on 20 October 1968 and explored the connections between creativity and technology, particularly cybernetics. In doing so, it linked scientific approaches and intuition, and dealt with the relationship between the computer and the arts. At 6500 square feet, housing 325 participants and seen by over 40,000 people, Cybernetic Serendipity’s combination of graphics, computer-composed music, film and cybernetic machines marked a critical moment in computer art history. (71)
In the years since this groundbreaking exhibition, other shows have continued to inform the way the public perceive computer art. The V&A’s collection includes works by key figures in coordinating major projects, such as Darcy Gerbarg (fig. 9). In 1981 she co-curated the first formal art show to accompany SIGGRAPH (Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques) (72). Gerbarg, born in 1949, obtained her BA from the University of Pennsylvania (1967) before completing an MBA at New York University (1971). (73) She began using computers to make art after Alvy Ray Smith created an interactive colour paint system at the Computer Graphics Lab, located in the New York Institute of Technology, where Gerbarg also worked. (74) Gerbarg was an educational pioneer, going on to establish the graduate program in Computer Art at the School of Visual Arts, where she was also the founding director of the Computer Institute for the Arts.
Women have continued to take leading roles in computer art teaching and criticism – contributions that are reflected by the holdings of the Word and Image Department and materials in the Patric Prince Archive. These include works by Sonia Sheridan, who created the Generative Systems programme in 1970 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. This course explored the implications of the communications revolution for the arts, and had a significant impact on the development of technological arts education. (75) Similarly, from 1970 to 1998, Grace Hertlein was a professor in the Department of Computer Science, California State University, where she taught information technology specialists about computer art. (76) More recently, Sue Gollifer (fig.10) has lectured at the University of Brighton School of Art, Design and Media since 1989, while Patricia Search is currently Professor in Interaction Design and Digital Art at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York. Women have also shaped critical discourses around the place of the computer in the visual arts, with notable contributions including those of art historian Patric Prince; artist, author and educator Anne Morgan Spalter; curator and writer Cynthia Goodman and scholars Christiane Paul and Margot Lovejoy. (77) Artists represented in the V&A’s collection have also published widely on the subject, most notably Ruth Leavitt, the editor of Artist and Computer, one of the earliest anthologies about computer art. (78)
Contemporary Engagement and Acquisitions
This essay has used the V&A’s collection of computer art to contextualise early digital practices, readdress the gender imbalance in treatments of the subject and draw attention to the long-standing tradition of women engaged in the fields of computer and digital art. In part, the impetus for this discussion has been the renewed interest in new media art histories and, more specifically, the place occupied by women in the history of computer art, both in the V&A and beyond. (79) Tellingly, a growing number of contemporary art and design networks have been established to address the imbalance of women artists working in the field of new media, computer arts and technology. G.Hack (Girl Hack), CoDesign, Flossie and MzTEK, to name but a few, are organisations that have worked with the V&A’s Digital Programmes team.
Clearly, the renewed focus on and debate about the continued exclusion of women from current exhibitions of new media art directly concerns the V&A. (80) The Museum’s first major exhibition of digital art, Decode: Digital Design Sensations (8 December 2009 to 8 April 2010), featured the solo work of just one female artist, reiterating exactly why more critical attention is needed in this field. (81) Through exhibition programming and acquisitions, the V&A is actively engaging with the issue. Following the 2013 exhibition, Barbara Nessim: An Artful Life, a large number of works by the artist were acquired for the collection including a series of works she made using a Norpak computer system at TIME Video Information Services in 1982, and the computer animation Face to Face created in 1983.
The recent acquistion in 2012 of artworks by Alison Craighead and Jon Thomson further illustrates the importance for the Museum of collecting the most recent digital artworks. Craighead and Thomson’s collaborative practice explores how global communication networks transform the way we perceive and understand the world around us. Using technology, their work considers conceptual and emotional issues surrounding the evolving digital and cultural landscape. The V&A’s set of four Google tea towels are printed with the authentic search-engine results returned to a user when the emotive phrases 'Please Help Me', 'Is Anybody there?' (fig.11), 'Please listen to me' and 'Can you hear me?' were entered into the search field using Google in Netscape 4.7 on Mac OS 9.2 and Netscape 6 on Windows 98. Most of the results come from internet bulletin boards, reflecting the predominant use of the web at the time. The tea towels are part of a body of work that highlights the artists’ acute critical awareness of the web’s amorphous qualities and its far-reaching implications. Like Craighead and Thomson’s other works, and, indeed, those of the artists considered in this essay, the piece scrutinises a moment of significant cultural and technological change, while their recent acquisition illustrates how the V&A is continuing to engage with the issue of collecting digital art and, more specifically, new media works created by women.
1. Further information about Computer Art: Technology & Terminology can be found at: www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/c/technology-and-terminology/
2. The Cybernetic Serendipity collector’s set consisted of seven lithographs printed after plotter drawings. All of the artists represented were male. The artists were Charles Csuri and James Shaffer, Donald K. Robbins, Maughan Sterling Mason, William Fetter, Kerry Strand and CTG, an artist group whose members were Haruki Tsuchiya (systems engineer), Masao Komura (product designer), Kuni Yamanaka (aeronautic engineer), Junichiro Kazizaki (electronic engineer), Makoto Ohtake (architectural designer), Koji Fujino (systems engineer) and Fujio Niwa (systems engineer).
3. Honor Beddard, ‘Computer art at the V&A’, V&A Online Journal, no. 2 (2009), www.vam.ac.uk/content/journals/research-journal/issue-02/computer-art-at-the-v-and-a/
4. ACM SIGGRAPH 86: Art Show Catalog, 13th Annual Conference On Computer Graphics And Interactive Techniques, Dallas, August 18-22, 1986 (Dallas: ACM SIGGRAPH, 1986); Beddard, ‘Computer art at the V&A’, www.vam.ac.uk/content/journals/research-journal/issue-02/computer-art-at-the-v-and-a/
5. Grant D. Taylor, ‘“Up for Grabs”: Agency, Praxis, and the Politics of Early Digital Art’, Lateral (The Journal for the Cultural Studies Association), issue 2 (2013), http://lateral.culturalstudiesassociation.org/issue2/theory/taylor/
6. The Ada Project, ‘Pioneering Women in Computing Technology’, http://women.cs.cmu.edu/ada/Resources/Women/.
7. Joasia Krysa, Ada Lovelace: introduction (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2011), 4.
8. Judy Malloy, ed., Women, Art and Technology (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2003).
9. Patric Prince, ‘Women and the search for visual intelligence’, in Women, Art and Technology, ed. Judy Malloy (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2003), 8.
10. Vera Molnar, ‘Artist’s Statement: Inconceivable Images’, Digital Art Museum, http://dam.org/artists/phase-one/vera-molnar/artist-s-statement.
11. Wulf Herzogenrath and Barbara Nierhoff, eds, Vera Molnar: Monotie, Symétrie, Surprise (Bremen: Kunsthalle, 2006), 11.
12. Margit Rosen, ed., A Little-Known Story about a Movement, a Magazine, and the Computer’s Arrival in Art: New Tendencies and Bit International, 1961–1973 (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2011), 554.
13. Archive of Art & Design, AAD/2009/19/10/39, Grace Hertlein, Curriculum Vitae, 1970.
14. Ibid., 14.
15. In 1974 Hertlein was art editor of Computers and People (the magazine previously known as Computers and Automation). She was the art editor for the magazine again in 1976, 1977, 1979 and 1980. Hertlein wrote extensively on computer art and was an editor of Computer Graphics and Art (from 1976 to 1978) also published by Berkeley Enterprises Inc.
16. Taylor suggests that it was the launch of the first art contest by Computers and Automation that facilitated the birth of computer art. Grant D. Taylor, ‘The Soulless Usurper: Reception and Criticism of Early Computer Art’, in Mainframe Experimentalism: early computing and the foundations of the digital arts, ed. by Hannah Higgins and Douglas Kahn (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012), 17–33.
17. BITSAVERS: Computers and Automation Journal Documents Library,
The Internet Archive, https://archive.org/details/bitsavers_computersAndAutomation;
‘The Computer Art Contest’, The compArt database Digital Art (daDA), http://dada.compart-bremen.de/item/Award/11.
18. University of Minnesota Archives, Katherine Nash Papers, 1910-1982, http://special.lib.umn.edu/findaid/xml/uarc00294.xml. Examples of other artists who created computer art in the late 1960s are Frederick Hammersley and Charles Mattox, who both taught at the University of New Mexico. Elizabeth East, ‘Foreword’, in Frederick Hammersley: The Computer Drawings 1969, ed. by Christina Carlos and Lisa Jann (Venice, California: L.A. Louver, 2013), 7.
19. Katherine Nash and Edmund C. Berkeley, ‘Computer Program for Artists: ART 1’, Leonardo Volume 3, (1970): 439.
20. Catherine Mason, ‘A History of Computer Art’ (paper presented at the CHArt conference, Birkbeck, University of London, 11-12 November 2004); also available online: http://www.chart.ac.uk/chart2004/papers/mason.html.
21. Nash and Berkeley, ‘Computer Program for Artists: ART 1’, 439–42.
22. Rosen, ed., A Little-Known Story about a Movement, 557.
23. Herbert W. Franke, Computergrafik-Galerie: Sylvia Roubaud (Wiesbaden: Vieweg, 1981).
24. ‘Sylvia Roubaud biography’, The compArt database Digital Art (daDA), http://dada.compart-bremen.de/item/agent/648.
25. Formerly known as AT&T Bell Laboratories and Bell Telephone Laboratories.
26. 9 Evenings: Theatre & Engineering/ presented under the auspices of the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, Inc., in cooperation with Experiments in Art and Technology, Inc. (New York: Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, 1966).
27. A collection of documents published by EAT can be accessed at: http://www.fondation-langlois.org/html/e/page.php?NumPage=237.
28. ‘Discoveries and Firsts’, Lillian F. Schwartz Website, http://lillian.com/discoveries_post/.
29. Carolyn L. Kane, ‘Digital Art and Experimental Color Systems at Bell Laboratories, 1965-1984: Restoring Interdisciplinary Innovations to Media History’, Leonardo Volume 43, issue 1 (2010): 55.
30. Archive of Art & Design, AAD/2009/19/10/87, Lillian Schwartz quoted in an interview by Rebecca Coffey, Computer Pictures, Jan/Feb 1984: 55.
31. Ibid., 54.
32. Laurens R. Schwartz email to author, 18 May 2014.
33. Archive of Art & Design, AAD/2009/19/10/87, ‘Artist’s Resume 29 April, 1984’.
34. Email to author from The Museum of Modern Art Film Study Center, 10 October 2013.
35. Archive of Art & Design, AAD/2009/19/10/87, Correspondence between Luisa Kreiseberg, Director of Public Information at MoMa, and Lillian Schwartz, 28 August, 1984; Archive of Art & Design, AAD/2009/19/10/87, ‘Artist’s Resume 29 April, 1984’.
36. ‘On Digital Art, Animation, Perception, Analysis’, Lillian F. Schwartz Website, http://lillian.com/on-digital-art-animation-perception-analysis/.
37. Archive of Art & Design, AAD/2009/19/10/87: 54.
38. Archive of Art & Design, AAD/2009/19/10/3, Colette Bangert quoted in an interview, Lawrence Daily Journal-World, 1971.
39. Archive of Art & Design, AAD/2009/19/10/3, Colette Bangert, Artist Statement 10 April 1990.
40. Patric Prince, ‘Women and the search for visual intelligence’, 7.
41. Ibid., 37.
42. Archive of Art & Design, AAD/2009/19/10/3, Colette Bangert quoted in Topeka Daily Capital (Kansas), 31 December 1971.
43. Colette Bangert, ‘Experiences in Making Drawings By Computer and by Hand’, Leonardo Volume 7 (1974): 289.
44. Joan L. Kirsch and Russell A. Kirsch, ‘Computers viewing artists at work’, in Syntactic and Structural Pattern Recognition, ed. by G. Ferrate et al. (Berlin: Springer Verlag, 1988); also accessible online: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.161.6252&rep=rep1&type=pdf.
45. Robert J. Krawczyk, Ellen Sandor (art)n: Multi-Dimensional Imagery, exhibition catalogue (Chicago: Illinois Institute of Technology, 2006-2007), http://mypages.iit.edu/~krawczyk/artIIT/print_pdfs/archive_11ap.pdf.
46. Anna Couey and Judy Malloy, ‘A Conversation with Sonya Rapoport’, Interactive Art Conference on Arts Wire, June 1995, http://www.well.com/~couey/interactive/rapoport/sonya.html.
47. Sonya Rapoport, ‘SHOE-FIELD: Our Fate is on Our Feet’, http://sonyarapartblog.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/shoe-field-our-fate-is-on-our-feet.html; Interview with Sonya Rapoport by Judy Malloy, ‘The process of creating new media’, Authoring Software, http://www.narrabase.net/rapoport.html.
49. Sonya Rapoport, ‘Process(ing) Interactive Art: using people as paint, computer as brush, and installation site as canvas’, in Women, Art and Technology, 188.
50. Further information on these artists can be found in the following artist files, held at the Archive of Art & Design: AAD/2009/19/10/86, Vibeke Sorensen; AAD/2009/19/10/1, Rebecca Allan; AAD/2009/19/10/99, Jane Veeder.
51. Further information on these artists can be found in the following artist files, held at the Archive of Art & Design: AAD/2009/19/10/43, Alyce Kaprow; AAD/2009/19/10/24, Eudice Feder.
52. Madeline Courtney, ed., Karen Guzak Prints: 1974-1999 (Washington: AngelArmWorks/Blurb, 2011), 73. http://www.blurb.com/books/2702721-karen-guzak; Karen Guzak, ‘Between Geometry and Gesture: Combining Electronic Media with Traditional Artistic Methods’, Leonardo Volume 30 (1997): 19–22.
53. Cynthia Beth Rubin, ‘Digital by Choice: imaging in the pre-photoshop era’, Leonardo Electronic Almanac Volume 13, No. 5 (2005), http://lea.mit.edu.
54. Karen Guzak email to author, 19 June 2014.
56. From 1985 to 1987, eight artists – Carl Chew, Karen Guzak, Lorna Jordan, Carolyn Law, Gail McCall, Bill Ritchie, Norie Sato and Janet Yang – created a series of prints using the IBIS System.
57. Judy Wajcman refers to the ‘hidden history’ of women in technology. Judy Wajcman, ‘Reflections on Gender and Technology: In What State is the Art?’ Social Studies of Science Vol.30, no 3 (2000): 447–64. Also accessible online:
58. Hybrid Momentum: Women/ Art/ Technology is a community of women engaged with creative technology and art. It is organised by Rutgers Institute for Women and Art in collaboration with Arizona State University, School of Art. For more information, see: http://www.momentum-women-art-technology.com/momentum-motherboard.htm.
59. Grant D. Taylor, ‘Humanizing the Machine: Women Artists and the Shifting Praxis and Criticism in Computer Art’, Journal of the International Digital Media and Arts Association, volume 4, no. 2 (2013), http://idmaa.org/?post_type=journalarticle&p=2138.
60. Angela Creager, Elizabeth Lunbeck and Londa Schiebinger, eds, Feminism in Twentieth-Century Science, Technology, and Medicine (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2001), 4.
61. Archive of Art & Design, AAD/2009/19/10/97, Joan Truckenbrod, ‘Gender Issues in the Electronic Arts Inform the Creation of New Modes of Computing’, [paper from the Patric Prince collections, 25 June, 1998]: 3.
63. Archive of Art & Design, AAD/2009/19/10/87, Lillian Schwartz quoted in Charles Solomon, ‘The computer as art medium’, The Los Angeles Times, 4 December 1982.
64. Thomas J. Misa, ‘Gender Codes: Defining the problem’, in Gender Codes: why women are leaving computing, ed. by Thomas J. Misa (New Jersey: Wiley, 2010), 4–5; Nathan Ensmenger, ‘Making Programming Masculine’, in Gender Codes: why women are leaving computing, 116.
65. Lois Mandel, ‘The Computer Girls’, Cosmopolitan, April 1976, 52–6. Also accessible online https://blog.avast.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/computer-girls.png.
66. The acceptance felt by some women in computer programming is also documented in: Janet Abbate, ‘Bridging the gap between popular images of computing and women’s historical experiences’, in Gender Codes: why women are leaving computing, 213–28; Jeffrey R. Yost, ‘Women entrepreneurs in software and computer services’, in Gender Codes: why women are leaving computing, 229–50.
67. For a more extensive discussion of changes in the composition of labour in computer programming, see: Nathan Ensemenger, The Computer Boys Take Over: computers, programmers, and the politics of technical expertise (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2010).
68. Archive of Art & Design, AAD/2009/19/10/97: 3.
69. In the 1980s, feminists, such as Joan Rothschild, supported the view that technology embodied patriarchal values. See Joan Rothschild, ed., Machina Ex Dea: feminist perspectives on technology (New York: Pergamon Press, 1983).
70. Flis Henwood, ‘Establishing Gender Perspectives on Information Technology: Problems, Issues and Opportunities’, in Gendered Design? Information Technology and Office Systems, ed. by Eileen Green, Jenny Owen and Den Pain (London: Taylor & Francis, 1993), 32–44; Judy Wajcman, Feminism Confronts Technology (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1991), 22.
71. Jasia Reichardt recorded more than 60,000 visitors to the exhibition during the eleven weeks it ran. Jasia Reichardt, ‘“Cybernetic Serendipity”: Getting Rid of Preconceptions’, Studio International 176, No. 905 (November 1968): 176–7. However, Michael Kustow, then director of the ICA, cited a much lower figure of 45,000. See also: Terry Coleman, ‘Wild in the Mall: Terry Coleman on the ICA’s Financial Crisis’, Guardian, 5 December 1968. The 325 participants in Cybernetic Serendipity included artists well known for their computer art, contemporary artists who worked with machines, avant-garde musicians and film makers. The number of participants also encompassed corporations, such as IBM, Boeing and General Motors, and research institutes, like Bell Telephone Labs.
72. SIGGRAPH (Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques) was first held in 1974; however, it was not until 1981 that the conference included a formal exhibition. This inaugural show was co-curated by Darcy Gerbarg and Ray Lauzzana.
73. Eli Noam, Jo Groebel, Darcy Gerbarg, eds, Internet Television (New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2004), xiii.
74. Darcy Gerbarg, ‘Computers as artist’s tool’, The Visual Computer volume 2 (1986): 178.
75. Sonia Sheridan fonds, ‘Biography’, The Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science, and Technology, http://www.fondation-langlois.org/html/e/page.php?NumPage=2002. See also: Archive of Art & Design, AAD/2009/19/10/89, Sonia Sheridan, artist’s file.
76. Archive of Art & Design, AAD/2009/19/10/39, Artist’s Resume.
77. Publications by the writers cited include: Cynthia Goodman, Digital Visions: computers and art (New York: Abrams; Syracuse: Everson Museum of Art, 1987); Margot Lovejoy, Digital Currents: Art in the Electronic Age (New York: Routledge, 2004); Christiane Paul, Digital Art (London: Thames & Hudson, 2003); Anne Morgan Spalter, The Computer in the Visual Arts (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison Wesley Longman, 1999).
78. Ruth Leavitt, Artist and Computer (New York: Harmony Books, 1976).
79. For information on the history of media see: Media Art Histories, conference series and archive, http://www.mediaarthistory.org; associated publications include: Sean Cubitt and Paul Thomas, eds, Relive: Media Art Histories (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2013). Woman, Art & Technology is a series of interviews on the Furtherfield website conducted by Rachel Beth Egenhoefer, exploring the different perspectives of women currently working in art and technology; see: http://www.furtherfield.org/user/rachel-beth-egenhoefer
80. In February 2014, the new-media-curating discussion list debated the poor gender balance in new media art exhibitions. This was in response to the exhibition Digital Analogy: Pioneers of New Media, held at Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Bogotá, from 8 to 28 February 2014. No female artists were represented. Simultaneously, an Art and Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon took place across the globe on Saturday 1 February 2014; for more information, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/ArtAndFeminism
81. Austrian artist Lia was the only individual female artist represented in Decode: Digital Design Sensations. In addition, the show included objects produced by collaborative practices comprising both men and women, as well as studio work by Jason Bruges studio, Everyware, Universal Everything and Trokia.